Urban Development eNews Archive FY2001

Enews ------ September 2001------ Issue 14
"I think we'll be better satisfied as a nation if we can look with pride at the buildings constructed with public funds and know that those buildings are functional as well as handsome, that they contribute to the appearance of the city in which they're located and the uses of the community itself."

-Justice Sandra Day O'Connor
Keynote Address, GSA Design Awards, March 2001
To Our Federal and Community Partners:

This regular ENews is designed to highlight some of GSA's projects and activities from across the country, especially those designed to bring greater activity to our federal buildings. We invite you to share in our efforts and we encourage your feedback and input. Thanks for your support.

REGIONAL NEWS..........................SITES & DESIGNS

GSA Plays "Place Game" with 300 in Denver

Attendees at GSA's Western Regions Conference 2001 went outside and played the "Place Game" at several plazas in downtown Denver on August 15. This evaluation tool - which encourages people to observe the comfort, image, uses, and activities of public spaces, then suggest improvements - introduced 300 employees from GSA's four westernmost regional offices to a new way of observing and assessing spaces such as the public plazas outside of many federal buildings and courthouses. The game was led by Fred Kent, President of Project for Public Spaces (PPS), a nonprofit organization that works to create and sustain public places that build communities, and a partner with GSA on a handful of projects around the country. Small groups of conference attendees conferred to come up with visions for the observed spaces and made presentations to a panel of judges from the Denver City Council, the U.S. District Courts, and PPS. GSA's Rocky Mountain Region will forward the groups' work to the City of Denver. For more information, contact Frank Giblin on (202) 501-1856.

Feiner Leads Panel on Design Excellence

GSA's Chief Architect, Ed Feiner, led a breakout session on Design Excellence at GSA's Western Regions Conference on August 15. Feiner's presentation and discussion centered on how design excellence and its award-winning courthouses and federal buildings go hand-in-hand with the First Impressions (a program designed to enhance the public's perception of GSA and the federal government by improving the appearance and efficiency of GSA buildings) and urban development programs that he also oversees. On the panel with Ed were Al Camp, national First Impressions champion, and Frank Giblin and Edward Giefer of the Chief Architect's urban development team. For more information, contact Edward Giefer on (202) 219-2355.

GSA is Good Neighbor to the YMCA in Youngstown

GSA's Great Lakes Region has signed a license agreement that allows the Youngstown (Ohio) YMCA to use a 3000 square foot parking area on the site of a new U.S. courthouse GSA is constructing downtown. The revocable, two-year license provides that the YMCA, which is located across the street from GSA's site, is responsible for maintaining the lot and for any necessary improvements. The cost to the YMCA is $1.00 annually. The YMCA plans to use the lot for parking for its employees and members. For more information, contact Crofton Whitfield on (312) 353-4846.

Historic Milwaukee Federal Building Hosts Art Museum Fund Raiser

GSA played host to this year's Bal du Lac, the Milwaukee Art Museum's big fund raiser, in the historic 1899 Milwaukee Federal Building and Courthouse. Special exterior and interior lighting for the event accentuated the building's dramatic design. The Federal Building is becoming an events hotspot, and the May ball was just one of several events held there in 2001. Staff in Milwaukee is focusing on ways for GSA to be a strong civic partner by continuing to seek ways for people to use this community treasure, including the preparation of a facilities user guide for the public. For more information, please contact Jeffrey Claassen on (414) 297-1839.

GSA Project Manager Receives Key to City of Ogden

On June 28, the Mayor of Ogden, Utah, presented the key to the city to GSA's Rocky Mountain Region Realty Specialist Tammy Eatough in a recent ceremony. Eatough and the Region were commended for working to help revitalize the downtown Ogden area, specifically in bringing an Internal Revenue Service Customer Service office to the city. GSA and IRS are partnering with the city, the State Historic Preservation Office, and the Utah Heritage Foundation in this effort. The new office will be attached to a restored, historic warehouse by a glass lobby. Once the project is completed, GSA will lease the space for the IRS. For more information, contact Sally Mayberry on (303) 236-7675, ext. 226.

Design Workshop for Plaza Enhancements Held by GSA in Springfield

Frank Saviano and Justin Hollander of GSA's New England Region held a design workshop on June 13th at the Federal Building in Springfield, Massachusetts, to discuss proposals to enhance the plaza surrounding the building. The broad mix of participants included Oak Point Associates, the project's architect, city officials, representatives of the Pioneer Valley Transit Authority, the National Park Service, and the local business improvement district, tenants from the Federal Building, Project for Public Spaces, and Frank Giblin from GSA's Office of the Chief Architect. GSA expects renovations to take place within the next two years. For more information, contact Frank Saviano on (617) 565-5494.

Summer Sounds in San Francisco, Courtesy of GSA

This summer GSA's Pacific Rim Region and San Francisco's Market Street Association are hosting a series of concerts at two of GSA's downtown federal buildings. The events are part of GSA's initiatives to invite the community and federal tenants to enjoy the public spaces surrounding the buildings. Performers include local and ethnic artists, school children, and senior citizen organizations. The response has been great. GSA is also working to encourage the public's use of the conference center on the 2nd floor of the Phillip Burton Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse, something that GSA is trying to more of nationwide. For more information, contact Patrick Vasco on (415) 436-7948.


New Commissioner Moravec is Good Neighbor at National Conference of FEBs

On July 18, new Public Buildings Service Commissioner F. Joseph Moravec addressed the annual conference of Federal Executive Boards (FEBs) on GSA's Good Neighbor program. Convening in Washington, DC, the conference brought together the leadership of Federal Executive Boards and Associations from nearly 100 cities. FEBs are presidentially-charted organizations that promote community-wide interagency and community collaboration, and they comprise the leadership of all federal agencies in a community -- that is, GSA's customers. The Commissioner discussed GSA's work to make positive contributions to communities through its real estate activities by making strategic design and location decisions, collaborating with local partners, and making our buildings active and inviting. Using several case studies, Moravec emphasized that these activities support GSA business goals and customer agency missions, and that customer support for these efforts is vital. For more information, contact Frank Giblin on (202) 501-1856. [Please email questions, comments or contributions to Edward Giefer at edward.giefer@gsa.gov or call (202) 219-2355.]

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Summer 2001 ------ Issue 13

"When we build let us think that we build forever. Let it not be for present delight, nor for present use alone; let it be such work as our descendants will thank us for."
-John Ruskin

To Our Federal and Community Partners:

This regular ENews is designed to keep you informed about GSA's projects and activities across the country. We invite you to share in our efforts and we encourage your feedback and input. Thanks for your support.


GSA Partners with City of Eugene on Redevelopment Plan -GSA is working with the City of Eugene, Oregon, on a redevelopment plan for an eight-acre industrial site adjacent to downtown. A new U.S. Courthouse, designed by Thom Mayne, will be the centerpiece of the redevelopment of the former Chiquita Cannery site. In addition to reuse of the site, the city hopes to use this opportunity to connect the downtown core to the nearby Willamette River, which is currently inaccessible from downtown. The plan will propose an urban framework for the area and also explore the viability of "daylighting" a canal that runs through a culvert on the site. By exposing the millrace and integrating it into a civic plaza, GSA and the city could partner on an urban amenity that would help to reknit the downtown fabric and create a secure perimeter for a portion of the courthouse site. For more information, contact John Merritt on (503) 326-3984.

Ground Broken for Urban Development Project in Utica, New York - GSA's Northeast & Caribbean Region held a ground-breaking ceremony on April 18 for an urban park adjacent to the Alexander Pirnie Federal Building in Utica, New York. Steve Ruggiero, the Region's Acting Regional Administrator, and Frank Giblin of the Center for Development were joined at the ceremony by U.S. Representative Sherwood Boehlert and Utica Mayor Timothy Julian. GSA is partnering with Utica's local urban development program to revitalize the city park--which serves as the federal building's front yard. GSA has leased the site from the city for $1 a year for 20 years, with four 20-year renewal options. The improvements include a water feature, a cobblestone plaza, a walking path, seating, trees, and increased exterior lighting--a security enhancement for the federal facility. The work should be completed in July. For more information, contact Frank Santella on (315) 448-0923.

Northwest/Arctic Region Rolls Out New Urban Initiative - GSA's Northwest/Arctic Region recently launched an urban development Advocate Committee. Center for Development field officers John Merritt and Stan Catchpole are working to incorporate the urban development mission - "To leverage GSA's federal real estate actions in ways that meet customer agency needs, manage our business effectively, and support community development goals" - into capital projects and day-to-day management of the region's federal buildings. The Committee is meeting regularly and is well on its way to developing short- and long-term action items. For more information, contact John Merritt on (503) 326-3984 or Stan Catchpole on (253) 931-7865.

GSA Presents Denver Federal District at AIA Conference - On May 18th, at the American Institute of Architects' 2001 National Convention, GSA's Rocky Mountain Region led a panel discussion on the Denver Federal District. GSA property manager Tim Horne moderated the panel with Denver city councilwoman Susan Barnes-Gelt and representatives from GSA's design team, landscape architect Eric Anderson of Civitas, and architect Blake Mourer of Gensler. The convention's theme, "Leaders and Partners in Creating Community", was fitting. The group was asked about its unique approach to developing an action-oriented master plan for the federal district--one that emphasizes quick change, local partnerships, and opportunistic investment. Rather than a more common all-or-nothing approach that requires heavy upfront investment, the group discussed their emphasis on changes they can make right away with existing funds and plans for changes that they can make later. They explained how this "kit-of-parts" approach allows GSA and its partners to make incremental changes when key opportunities (and funds) arise. Quick changes fit into a larger plan and generate momentum for bigger changes down the road. The panel also discussed how partnerships with a wide range of organizations--including teachers and students from a local middle school, a design studio at the University of Colorado at Denver, local arts organizations, the City of Denver, Rapid Transit Denver, and others-allow the team to comprehensively combine resources and expertise to address mutual interests at all levels. For more information, contact Janet Preisser on (303) 236-7131, Ext. 248.

Greater Southwest Region and City of Fort Worth Sign Agreement - On June 19th, the city council of Fort Worth, Texas, unanimously approved an agreement with GSA that will jump start city-lead improvements near the Lanham Federal Building downtown. After two years of collaboration between GSA, the city, and other local partners, the license agreement will allow GSA's Greater Southwest Region to make improvements to "Federal Plaza", a barren parcel of city-owned property at the entrance of the federal building. When completed, the improved plaza will establish the first of five parcels of land where the city intends to recreate "Hyde Park", a historic downtown public square that existed more than a century ago. In supporting the city's efforts, GSA anticipates returns for federal employees, visitors, and the neighborhood, as well as enhanced marketability of space in the Lanham Building, improved customer satisfaction, and increased employee productivity. The City sees GSA's action as a crucial first step to support its larger efforts for Hyde Park. In the meantime, the agreement serves as a model for cooperative ventures between GSA and local governments. For more information, contact Harold Hebert on (817) 978-4660.


Update - Economic Study in Three Cities - GSA, the National Main Street Center, and local downtown management organizations in Athens, GA; Baltimore, MD; and Springfield, IL, have completed the survey portion of a study they are undertaking to determine the impact of the federal presence on communities. The five different surveys are designed to gather information from federal workers, downtown visitors, federal building managers, and federal agencies, and on the downtown areas covered by the Athens Downtown Development Authority, the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore, and Downtown Springfield, Inc. Next steps are to analyze the survey responses, finalize the survey tools for nationwide applicability, and issue a report. For more information, contact Frank Giblin on (202) 501-1856. [Please email questions, comments and contributions to Edward Giefer at edward.giefer@gsa.gov or call (202) 219-2355.]

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Enews ------ April 2001 ------ Issue

"Public buildings often accurately reflect the beliefs, priorities, and aspirations of a people. For much of our history, the courthouse has served not just as a local center of the law and government but as a meeting ground, cultural hub, and social gathering place."

-- former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Lewis F. Powell, Jr.
(in the forward to "Virginia's Historic Courthouses", by John O. and Margaret T. Peters)
To Our Federal and Community Partners:

This regular ENews is designed to keep you informed about GSA's projects and activities across the country. We invite you to share in our efforts and we encourage your feedback and input.

Thanks for your support!!


Economic Study Underway in Three Cities - GSA, the National Main Street Center, and local downtown management organizations in Athens, GA; Baltimore, MD; and Springfield, IL are working on a study to determine the impact of the federal presence on communities. The study is looking at the economic impact that federal workers, federal buildings, visitors to federal buildings, and federal agencies have on downtowns. The group is using five different surveys to capture information and will create a model for GSA to use to gauge the economic impact of the federal presence in other downtowns. For more information, contact Frank Giblin on (202) 501-1856.

Release of Urban Policy Update Issue 2 - The Center announces the release of Issue 2 of its Urban Policy Update, "Focus on: Downtown Improvement Strategies - BIDs and Other Tools." This policy newsletter, written for GSA's realty professionals but of value to anyone interested in learning about GSA's commitment to partnering with downtown organizations and helping to keep the nation's central business areas lively, features frequently asked questions and lessons learned, and also contains a listing of more than 35 agreements GSA has with downtown management groups across the country. For hard copies of the Update, please contact the Center.

CUED Conference - On February 21, Acting Center Director Frank Giblin represented GSA on a business improvement districts (BID) panel at the Council for Urban Economic Development's 2001 Economic Development Summit held in Washington, DC. The panel was moderated by Larry Houston of the Atlantic Group, an expert and author on BID creation and management. The other panelists were Rich Bradley, the Executive Director of Downtown DC, and David Dabney, Executive Director of the Bethesda (MD) Urban Partnership. Frank explained GSA's role as a user of BID services and discussed how GSA, BIDs, and federal agencies share common interests that can be addressed through local partnerships. He noted, too, that many public spaces in and around GSA properties are valuable unused resources that could be activated through these partnerships.

APA Conference - The Center's Harold Hebert and Kristi Tunstall participated in the 92nd Conference of the American Planning Association in New Orleans, LA, March 10-14. Many conference participants stopped by the Center's exhibit booth to find out more about the Center and voice their support for our projects and other efforts around the country. The conference featured workshops on all areas of planning and provided an overview of the current state of planning. For more information, contact Harold on (817) 978-4660.

2001 National Town Meeting on Main Street - The Center's Crofton Whitfield and Edward Giefer participated in this year's National Town Meeting on Main Street in Indianapolis, April 1-4. On display was the Center's exhibit booth and outreach materials, and Whitfield and Giefer participated in sessions such as "The ABCs of Creating BIDs", "Downtown Indianapolis Success Story", "Surprising Partnerships", and "Crisis in Parking". For more information, contact Crofton on (312) 353-4846 or Ed on (202) 219-2355.


Great Lakes Region Working With Partners, Big and Small - On March 13, the Youngstown (OH) Board of Education announced that it is partnering with GSA's Great Lakes Region to provide student-painted murals at the construction site for the new federal courthouse downtown. Through their art classes, students will paint murals on panels that will become part of the fence surrounding the site. Every school in the district intends to participate. GSA's construction manager, the Dick Corporation, arranged for the donation of 55 four-by-eight foot plywood panels, while the schools will supply the paints? and the artists, of course. This program is the first of many partnering opportunities that GSA and local partners in Youngstown have been discussing since last summer. Construction on the courthouse will begin this spring with occupancy planned for late 2002. For more information, contact Crofton Whitfield at (312) 353-4846.

Rocky Mountain Region Extends Community Outreach to Local University - GSA's Rocky Mountain Region's Office of Property Development and Office of Business Development are spearheading a new community outreach program. GSA is participating in the University of Colorado at Denver's graduate architecture design studio. This program involves representatives from the City of Denver, GSA's Center for Development, the Denver Botanic Gardens, and many others. Students study the dynamics of "private vs. public" access to space and how to best implement GSA's Good Neighbor Program in the Downtown Denver Federal District Master Plan (the students will unveil their efforts in May). A symposium for local architecture students is being planned. For more information, contact Janet Preisser on (303) 236-7131 (x248).


Article - "Federal Spaces, Community Places" - "Federal Spaces Community Places", an article on recent GSA efforts to improve public spaces at some of our buildings and raise awareness of the federal impact on communities, is in the March 2001 edition of Governing magazine. The article discusses ongoing projects in Denver, Washington, and Montpelier, VT, and notes how federal projects in Oakland, St. Louis, and Omaha have served as positive catalysts for development. For hard copies of the article, please contact the Center.

Articles on economic impact study ·"Unlocking mysteries of federal agencies' contributions to Baltimore," Maryland Daily Record (2/28/2001), ·"Baltimore, 2 other cities in federal impact study," Baltimore Sun (2/28/2001) ·"Springfield to represent midsized cities in GSA study," Springfield (IL) Journal-Record (2/27/2001) ·"Federal study examining shopping, work habits," Springfield (IL) Journal-Record (2/28/2001) ·"National Trust and GSA Select Three Pilot Cities for Downtown Economic Measurement Project," National Trust for Historic Preservation (press release) (2/27/2001), "GSA programs make downtown federal districts more visitor-friendly." This article, on good things happening in Denver, can be found in the Downtown Research & Development Center's February 15, 2001, Idea Exchange newsletter.


New Organization - The Center for Urban Development has moved into the Center for Development in GSA's Office of the Chief Architect. The new Center will work to ensure that excellence in planning, urban development, and landscape and building architecture will be integrated into all of GSA's real estate projects.

[Please email questions, comments or contributions to the ENews to Edward Giefer at edward.giefer@gsa.gov or call (202) 219-2355.]

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Enews ------ Winter 2001 ------ Issue 11

To Our Federal and Community Partners:

As GSA's Center for Urban Development nears its second birthday, we continue our work to help GSA's regional offices leverage their real estate actions in ways that support communities--to bolster community efforts to encourage smart growth, economic vitality, and cultural vibrancy. This regular Enews is designed to keep you informed about GSA's projects and activities across the country. We invite you to share in our efforts and we encourage your feedback and input.

Thanks for your support!!


GSA-Focused Mayors' Institute on City Design - Mayors from five cities (Springfield, MA; Gulfport, MS; Laredo, TX; Rochester, NY; and Cedar Rapids, IA) and the associated GSA regional leadership met December 7-9 in Washington, DC, in a special session of the Mayors' Institute. The sessions focused on federal real estate projects and planning and how to use federal-local collaboration to make the most of GSA's investment in communities. Governing magazine will include coverage of the event in an eight-page "Federal Spaces Community Places" insert in its March 2001 issue. For more information, contact Edward Giefer on (202) 219-2355.

Field Officer Training - The Center gathered its field officers in Washington, DC, December 6-7 for a training session and workshop. The program included an overview of the Center for Urban Development as an introduction for new field officers and a refresher for everyone else. Other sessions focused on projects and case studies, including a discussion of past successes and lessons learned, as well as our Good Neighbor principles. We also set goals for the coming year and discussed implementation plans and next steps. For more information, contact Frank Giblin on (202) 501-1856.

GSA Addresses FAMA - On November 21, GSA met with the Federal Administrative Management Association -- a group of the Federal government's top career facilities, asset management, and administrative policy people -- to discuss GSA's commitment to locating and remaining in urban areas and in historic buildings and districts whenever possible and to urge other federal agencies to join us in our efforts. The Center's Policy Director Edward Giefer joined Elaine Dade of GSA's Office of Management Services, Caroline Alderson of GSA's Historic Buildings and the Arts Center of Expertise, and Rob Nieweg from the National Trust for Historic Preservation for the presentation. For more information, contact Edward Giefer on (202) 219-2355.

Center Participates in Rail-Volution 2000 - Policy Director Edward Giefer moderated a panel at "Rail-Volution 2000", a five-day event in Denver centered on building livable communities with transit. The panel, titled "Sprawl: What's the Real Cost?", featured research and case study data on the effects of sprawl from three speakers: Reid Ewing of Rutgers University; Sam Seskin of Parsons Brinckerhoff in Portland; and Lewison Lem of EPA in Washington, DC. Giefer opened the standing-room only session with remarks on what GSA and the Center for Urban Development are doing to combat sprawl and quantify the benefits of locating federal facilities in central business areas. For more information, contact Edward Giefer on (202) 219-2355.

Smart Growth Conference - The Center was a sponsor of the 4th Annual Partners for Smart Growth Conference held in Atlanta, GA, December 4-6, 2000. The conference theme was "Engaging the Private Sector" and aimed to take smart growth to the next level by demonstrating how common ground and collaboration are the building blocks for successful smart growth implementation strategies. The sessions featured specific examples of projects, communities, and regions that are getting results from their smart growth strategies in their economies, environments, and local communities. For more information, contact Edward Giefer on (202) 219-2355.


Southeast Sunbelt Signs Good Neighbor Agreement With Columbus, Georgia - On October 3, Columbus, Georgia, and the Uptown Columbus Business Improvement District became part of GSA's Good Neighbor program. A Memorandum of Agreement was signed by GSA's Southeast Sunbelt Region and the Uptown BID. The signing ceremony was held on the steps of GSA's historic U.S. Courthouse/Post Office in Columbus. GSA will partner in Columbus revitalization efforts and purchase external safety and cleaning services from the BID. For more information, contact George McGrady, (404) 331-4940, or Delores Stanley (404) 331-2367.


Altman Departs Center: - Director Hillary Altman has left the Center for Urban Development after building and leading the Good Neighbor program and the Center in her four and a half years of federal service. Altman has accepted a new position at OPX, an architecture, interiors, and organizational strategies firm in Washington, DC. She can be reached there beginning April 2. Contact: Hillary Altman, (202) 997-0079 (wireless).

Updates on projects across the country, News on conferences in New Orleans and Indianapolis, The latest on the Center's partnership with the National Main Street Center, Where to find Issue 2 of the Center's Urban Policy Update, and more.

(Please email questions, comments or contributions to the ENews to Edward Giefer at edward.giefer@gsa.gov or call (202) 219-2355.)

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Last Reviewed 2015-12-09